War on Fun

Bay to Breakers will have video surveillance, license plate scans, and secret "FBI assets"

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Police video surveillance was in the spotlight during yesterday's City Hall hearing on security measures at large events, as supervisors voiced a desire to strike the right balance between security and civil liberties. And while they got some reassurance and small signs of restraint from the SFPD, they also learned about secretive new security measures that go beyond what the public was aware of.Read more »

Hearing on event security as SFPD pushes police state

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Just a few weeks ago, Sup. Scott Wiener, civil libertarians, and I were raising concerns here about the SFPD unilaterally expanding its video surveillance reach. Then came the bombings at the Boston Marathon, which the SFPD used to seriously up the ante in the police state pot, asking for real time video surveillance up and down Market Street and banning backpacks at Bay to Breakers.

Now, I'm not one to stand in the way of reasonable security precautions. But we shouldn't just defer to the SFPD on whatever it says it wants because then we'll have cameras on every corner, spy drones overhead, stop-and-frisk, and an ever-greater portion of our tax dollars going to expand the police state. Because the cops will always want more tools to police us, tools they will always say they need to protect us – it's just in their nature. But it's up to the rest of us to strike the right balance and not lose our heads every time some whack-job resorts to violence.

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Sneaky surveillance

SFPD has been quietly seeking video footage of new bars since losing a public fight over the issue

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steve@sfbg.com

After public outrage stopped the San Francisco Police Department from instituting controversial — and unconstitutional, say civil libertarians — new video surveillance requirements in bars and clubs more than two years ago, the department quietly began inserting that same requirement into new liquor licenses, a move met with concern at City Hall last week.Read more »

Wiener's dance mix: more DJs mixed with fines for "bad actors"

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DJs could proliferate in San Francisco's bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and plazas under legislation that Sup. Scott Wiener introduced today to include DJs under the city's limited live music permits, but the legislation also includes new enforcement powers to crackdown on underground parties and other unpermitted events.Read more »

Western SoMa Plan changed to lessen development impacts to nightlife and Muni

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The Western SoMa Community Plan had its first hearing before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee today, with dozens of speakers praising the eight-year citizen-based planning effort that developed it but with much of the testimony criticizing the plan's emphasis on facilitating housing development to the exclusion of other goals.Read more »

Supervisors consider Western SoMa Plan, lots of new condos, and "the purple building"

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The fate of the “purple building” – which has become caught up in the clash between nightlife and residential interests on the clubgoer-saturated 300-block of 11th Street – remains undecided as the Western SoMa Community Plan heads into its first hearing before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee on Monday.Read more »

Clubs vs. condos

Can new housing coexist with nightlife in western SoMa? A rezoning debate around the 11th Street Corridor heats up

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steve@sfbg.com

The Western South of Market area is ground zero for the city's War on Fun, a place where nightlife often comes into conflict with residential expectations, particularly on the raucous 300 block of 11th Street and, to a lesser degree, Folsom Street's old "miracle mile" of predominantly gay bars.Read more »

Is the War on Fun over, or do we still need to fight for our right to party?

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On Monday, the Entertainment Commission brings together a slew of City folk and party people at its fourth annual Nightlife Industry Summit. The three-hour affair includes speeches from Police Chief Greg Suhr, Sup. Scott Weiner, and perhaps Mayor Ed Lee, as well as a panel of speakers, and break-out sessions where club owners, security officers, and outdoor event planners can respectively brainstorm, said commission director Jocelyn Kane.Read more »

Mayor Lee praises the importance of nightlife to SF

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Addressing a gathering of nightlife advocates at a California Music and Culture Association event last night, Mayor Ed Lee praised the economic and cultural role that the entertainment industry plays in San Francisco, announced plans to add a “nightlife unit” in the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and even hinted that Halloween in the Castro might be returning after being shut down during the city's Read more »

The war is over. Fun won.

San Francisco nightlife is finally getting some political support

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steve@sfbg.com

>>Read Sup. Scott Weiner's op-ed on SF nightlife here

Two years ago, the war on fun that the Bay Guardian had been chronicling and decrying since 2006 — involving overzealous cops, NIMBY neighbors complaining about noise, escalating fees on outdoor events, and politicians scapegoating nightclubs for urban violence –- seemed to be reaching a peak of official intolerance.Read more »